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Commentary – Long odds for democracy in Yemen

I commented further on the Yemeni revolution over at the National Journal security blog, arguing that the ouster of president Ali Abdullah Saleh is no great loss for American counter-terrorism, but that a democratic Yemen is unlikely:

The United States has no national interest in Saleh’s survival. We do have an interest in a stable Yemen, one that’s not a lawless haven for pirates and terrorists like Somalia on the other side of the Red Sea. But as soon as Saleh provoked a popular rebellion by having his security forces fire on protesters, he became a threat to stability, not a bulwark. We do have an interest in a friendly Yemen, or at least one that doesn’t actively interfere in U.S. counter-terrorist operations, but not only can we replace Saleh, we can probably do better….[But a]dd to the Saudi’s anti-democracy stance the fact that two of the three major players in Yemen are at least indifferent to democracy, and the odds are not in favor of the pro-democracy protesters. The West can certainly wield influence to make Yemen more democratic than it otherwise might be, but the final decision is not ours.

For the full post in context, go to the current discussion over at the National Journal blog – but do come back here to comment, since only invited participants can post there.

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